Cheetahs to go on the offensive
TEAM ANNOUNCEMENTS: The Cheetahs are planning for all-out attack when they face Zebre in Round 14 of the Pro14 on Saturday.
The return fixture against the Italian outfit comes just three weeks after the Cheetahs won the first leg won in Parma on January 6.
The Cheetahs have won four of their five clashes against Italian sides since joining the Championship and have only lost once in their last four Championship games.
The home team are wary of Zebre, who would be determined to bounce back from a six-match losing run.
The two sides have met three times already, and the Cheetahs have emerged victorious every time.
The Cheetahs’ superior attacking form has seen them score 18 more tries than the Italians despite playing one less match this season, which they will look to build on at Stadium.
However, they will enter the match knowing that the visitors have conceded four fewer tries.
“It is going to be an exciting match,” Cheetahs captain Tian Meyer said.
“If we allow them to play their brand of rugby, we can expect it to be difficult.”
Coach Franco Smith has made a number of changes to his team.
Sintu Manjezi and Walt Steenkamp move to the starting line up, with Justin Basson and JP du Preez providing cover on the bench.
Gerhard Oliver moves to No.8 and Junior Pokomela to No.6 flank.
Abongile Nonkontwana will be starting, with Niell Jordaan providing cover on the bench.
Rabz Maxwane has scored nine tries in 11 appearances this season, which has placed him at the top of the try-scorers’ list by two tries.
* Meanwhile Lock Biagi becomes the latest Zebre centurion.
The lock will become the fifth centurion at the club – after De Marchi, Palazzani, Chistolini and Fabiani.
Flyhalf Carlo Canna flew with his teammates to South Africa to attend Zebre’s only game in the Southern Hemisphere this season.
There are seven changes in the starting line-up selected by coach Bradley.
There are two South Africans in the starting XV – Francois Brummer at fullback and Johan Meyer at flank.
Zebre: 15 Francois Brummer, 14 Paula Balekana, 13 James Elliott, 12 Tommaso Boni, 1 Gabriele Di Giulio, 10 Carlo Canna, 9 Joshua Renton, 8 Giovanni Licata, 7 Johan Meyer, 6 Iacopo Bianchi, 5 George Biagi (captain), 4 Samuele Ortis, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Luhandre Luus, 1 Daniele Rimpelli.
Replacements: 16 Massimo Ceciliani, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Apisai Tauyavuca, 20 James Brown, 21 Riccardo Raffaele, 22 Maicol Azzolini, 23 Giovanbattista Venditti.
Cheetahs: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 William Small-Smith, 13 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 12 Nico Lee, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Tian Schoeman, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Gerhard Olivier, 7 Abongile Nonkontwana, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Walt Steenkamp, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Johannes Coetzee, 2 Joseph Dweba, 1 Retshegofaditswe Nche.
Replacements: 16 Reinach Venter, 17 Charles Marais, 18 Luan de Bruin, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Jean-Pierre du Preez, 21 Niell Jordaan, 22 Shaun Venter, 23 Louis Fouche.
Date: Saturday, January 26
Venue: Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein
Kick-off: 15.00 (14.00 Italian time; 13.00 GMT)
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Paul Mente and Ben Crouse (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)